Steve McQueen’s Agony

Kathleen Phelps

Frank K. Meyer has been a resident of Puerto Vallarta for over 20 years. He and his Mexican wife live in Conchas Chinas in the former home of the French Ambassador to Mexico. Prior to living in Mexico, Frank had a dental practice Palm Springs. Frank’s such a good writer, that I’ve taken the liberty of printing his story as he’s provided….
As I was finishing up with one of my regular patients, my wife, who was also my dental secretary, told me there was a lady calling about her husband. He was in a lot of pain in a tooth that had just finished having endodontic therapy, and his lower jaw was swollen. His endodontist had recommended me for emergency treatment. Naturally, I took the phone.
“Oh Dr. Meyer, can you see my husband right away? I have never seen him in such agony.”
“Yes, Mrs.….” (Neile Adams)
“McQueen. My husband’s name is Steve”
“Your husband is Steve McQueen? The Steve McQueen?” I asked.
“Yes, that’s right, and he will be there in 10 minutes” I looked over at my wife Nancy, and she was in a state of shock. She looked like she was about to faint.
“Please get room two ready; we will need an x-ray of the problem tooth.”
“Oh God, you want me to take an x-ray in Steve McQueen’s mouth? I really will faint.”
“OK, I’ll take it, just get everything ready, he is on his way over now.”
Steve McQueen arrived right on time, and his lower jaw looked like a large balloon. He confessed that he had only the first appointment, and got busy shooting “Wanted Dead or Alive,” his weekly television series, and never got back with his endodontist.
“Doctor, please get me out of this mess, and I promise that I will be in Dr. Frank’s office first thing Monday.”
“No problem, but this will hurt just a bit for a minute”
“Do it Doc.” I opened the tooth as quickly as I could, and as I finished, I thought he would be on the ceiling. He let out a whoop, and yellow fluid gushed out of the tooth like oil out of a new well. The swelling started to diminish, and in less than five minutes, he was out of pain. I left the tooth open to continue to drain, and gave him a prescription for an antibiotic.
Steve told me that he was leaving to fly to London to start a movie over there, but he would wait until he was sure that his tooth problem was solved. He left the office after leaving a hundred dollars with Nancy. She told him the fee was only $40, but he said that was the smallest bill he had on him; so just go have a good dinner on him. I saw a lot of Steve after that, mostly out on the desert where he loved to ride his motorcycles. We were so sorry to hear of his passing.
HELP! I’m running out of Tales to Tell! We have so many interesting people living in Puerto Vallarta! Let’s hear your story! Share your Tale to Tell anonymously or by name by e-mailing me at or call me at 322-142-2245.

One comment

  1. I really enjoyed your piece on Steve McQueen. I love stories that are so geniune and leave you feeling warm. He is such an iconic actor it’s fun, you just never know who you might meet one day.

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